Sunday, August 20, 2017

What A Whale of A Week, Kasatka Is Dead, Marineland Canada, Divers Freeing Whales, Sky Ocean Rescue Plastic Whale, Miami Seaquarium, Lolita...

The amount of plastic we throw away on a daily basis is … a whale of a problem. The organization Sky Ocean Rescue seems to know it all too well – and it is now taking its whale-shaped visual representation of the plastic waste crisis on tour to bring the problem to life.

Sky Ocean Rescue, the initiative of a popular European entertainment company that highlights global environmental issues, has created a 30-foot long installation of a whale built out of plastic.

The whale’s size is not accidental – it was made out of the same amount of plastic bags, bottles, and straws that are dumped into the ocean every second.

The whale has an incredibly important message – and it is now traveling across the UK to make it reach as many people as possible. The piece is set to visit England, Wales, and Scotland – it will be anchored on beaches, waterfront locations, and in city centers.

When it comes to issues of such huge proportions like the plastic waste crisis, it is often difficult to fully grasp the size of the problem jbecause the numbers we see are so unimaginably huge. Around 8.8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year – although it is obviously enormous, this number is still quite hard to accurately picture in our minds.

This is why the plastic whale makes such an impact on anyone who sees it! Especially considering the whale is made of plastic that is thrown into the oceans literally every second. Seeing face to face the unbelievable amount of plastic waste that gets into the waters and endangers marine wildlife, it would be difficult not to give the whole issue some serious thought … and perhaps be inspired to take action – or at least we really, really hope so.

To find the Sky Ocean Rescue plastic whale traveling schedule, click here.

To learn how to use less plastic in your everyday life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign! Image source: Sky Ocean Rescue

Kasatka Is Dead

Orca Kasatka Dead at SeaWorld After Suffering for Years With Painful Bacterial Infection. According to reports, Kasatka had been suffering from a bacterial lung infection since at least 2008 and her ailing body was covered with lesions before her death. Former SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove stated that this is "an incredibly painful way to die." 
Marineland Canada’s Cruelty Charges May Have Been Withdrawn But Here’s Why This is Still a Win. While SeaWorld seems to be getting all the attention, it is hardly the only marine park in North America that keep whales and orcas in captivity. Marineland Canada is one of the top tourist attractions in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and has been in business for over 50 years. Despite its assertions that the animals in their care receive the very best available to them, Marineland has a long history of animal abuse.

Many animal welfare organizations are working towards exposing the rampant cruelty, with The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) recently charging Marineland with five counts of animal cruelty. Not surprisingly, the charges were withdrawn last week, with the Crown stating there was no reasonable chance of conviction.

Even though the law may not see animals as sentient beings deserving of freedom yet, this court case was a victory. This legal fight, along with the award-winning film Blackfish, has given the secret horrors of cetacean captivity widespread public attention over the last few years.

With knowledge that 17 orca whales, 25 beluga whales, and an estimated 22 dolphins have died at the facility, the public is starting to raise questions in regards to the quality of conditions at the park. Marineland has a terrible track record when it comes to the health of their dolphins. Former Marineland trainers have come forward to share the extent of the poor conditions the animals in the care of the facility have been forced to endure.

Dirty, unsanitary water was among the largest concerns to the well-being of the park’s animals. The former trainers described the “barn,” the name given to a tank that housed five of the park’s dolphins as being horribly unkempt. In an interview published in The Star, the trainers said that ” [the dolphins would] lay at the bottom in murky green water or breeched and thrashed wildly, their reactions changing with the chemicals. Their skin fell off in chunks, their color darkened and they refused to eat. This lasted intermittently for eight months, from October 2011 until just before show season began in May 2012 when their water was changed.”

In addition to the physical ailments experienced by these animals due to unsanitary water, many exhibit signs of zoochosis. According to former trainer Angela Bentivegna, captive walruses are very social animals who crave attention from their trainers. However, the walruses at Marineland were kept in dark pens all alone for days. Their only form of stimulation was feeding time. Many of the walruses at the facility have been treated for regurgitation issues, a symptom of extreme psychological distress and depression.

Because former trainers have come forward with their experiences and animal advocates worldwide are keeping the pressure on, change is being made. In a statement released by Marineland once the charges were dropped, the park said they suffered severe “reputational damage” and although the exact attendance figures haven’t been disclosed, if Marineland is following SeaWorld and the Toronto Zoo’s long-term trend, the crowds are dwindling. Change may be slow, but it is happening and animal advocates just like yourself are leading the fight.

What You Can Do
Like SeaWorld, Marineland exploits highly intelligent, sentient animals and subjects them to a life of mental distress and illness in exchange for their profits. The lives of orcas in captivity remain as monotonous as they’ve always been, but we have reason to hope for the future. As the public continues to see the value in conservation and education via other outlets, SeaWorld and other marine facilities are in a rush to play catch up to appease them. Hopefully, these facilities will begin to move in the direction that is in the best interest of the animals in their care and move away from exhibits that aim only to entertain the customer.

You can help end the suffering at Marineland by ending your support of this cruel marine park. Boycotting Marineland Canada, and any other facility that keeps animals captive, is the best way to stop the abuse. And please share articles highlighting how captivity negatively impacts orcas and let these facilities know you don’t support them by not buying a ticket! Lead image source: lolilujah/Flickr. Reporting by Michelle Neff.
In Defense of Animals
World's Loneliest Orca Screams for Freedom. Miami Seaquarium forces Lolita to perform tricks and cry out loudly for the audience during its circus-style show. The sound of her anguished scream is heartbreaking to many, and a new study confirms that we are recognizing what Lolita is really communicating. Her cry expresses the heart-rending emotions of pain, suffering and loss. Listen to Lolita's anguished cry now, then sign our alert to set her free. TAKE ACTION